Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:26 pm

Sun Fin wrote:Sorry that was awful phrasing on my half.

What I meant was that Putin is self-serving on the World Stage out of a belief in Nationalism and that this maneuvering for power is best for Russia and her people.

Now you could certainly argue that the USA and the Western Powers also want to be the biggest fish in the pond but I do think that for the most part they try to use this power to try (and fail) to improve things for others.


Ooohkay, that's better. I think.

Personally, when it comes to American foreign policy I would prefer us to have a healthier dose of good honest patriotic realism rather than this disembodied world policeman attitude that so many of us seem to have. A government's first job, after all, is to preserve, defend and support the people, culture and environment of a particular geographical expression, yes?

And to be honest, I don't think the 'biggest fish in the pond' aspect of American foreign policy is in any way an evil moustache-twirling 'rule the world' plot. Mostly I think it's just misguided idealism, combined with a certain sense that we have a hammer in our hand and all the world's problems look like nails.

Dong Zhou wrote:I agree with WWD on Sun Fin's (now clarified) comments and the sense that, for some, that if Russia does something, Putin is doing it while twirling an evil moustache. I also disagree with WWD as I think he has then gone and done the same thing only with the west. While I would agree with him that oil, arms (or business as whole) lobby is far too powerful, we have different views on how far it reaches and where the damage is done.

I don't think it is helpful in these matters to assume one side is making a decision purely based on being evil or being puppet of evilcorp. Or looking at the entire system and deeming them all evil and corrupt with malign purposes. One can take a view on the morality or wisdom of things they do, say that there is bad influences or that something bad (or good) is playing a part in their judgement, but I would be wary of trying to portray any one decision as due to one evil factor/persona.


Okay; sorry about that impression I gave. THAT was not deliberate - big 'my bad' there. :P

My sole objection was to this idea that if governments speak properly-accented English then their motives must be white as the driven snow, whilst if they speak the black tongue of Mordor Russian then they must be out to conquer and enslave all of Middle Earth, out of pure selfishness and love of power. I don't see the West as pure evil; as in my reply to Sun Fin above I see it as equal parts misguided idealism, MIC-driven policy capture and good old-fashioned institutional inertia.

That said, though, each of the above are problematic enough as it is. I don't have to pretend the West is inherently evil to note the certain evils of its choice of foreign policy.

Calamitus wrote:Interesting fact - Putin's rating was actually very low before those events on Ukraine, now it is high instead. That what happens when someone tries to make civil war on your doorstep. Oh yes, many people think that his actions are mild and insufficient actually.


Now this is an interesting point.

It's worth note that the lion's share of the opposition to Putin - that from the Left, including the moderate, America-friendly democratic Left (Sergey Mironov and Fair Russia, for example) and of course the Slavophil Left (Sergey Glazyev) is much, much more jingo regarding the Ukraine than Putin is. Pretty much the only people who opposed his general stance there were the extreme Muscovite zapadniki (themselves incredibly right-wing, economically) in the SPS-Yabloko crowd, but these are all generally darlings of the neoliberal Atlanticist establishment anyway. Speaking honestly as a left-leaning American, we put our foot in it big time when we slapped sanctions on Mironov and Glazyev.

(Or, maybe, if the American foreign policy establishment were trying to promote democracy in Russia, slapping sanctions on Mironov and Glazyev would certainly help to burnish their populist credentials - 'see, America even hates us!' - thus lending them more credibility in future elections. Well played, American foreign policy establishment, well played indeed. :P )

Calamitus, you're absolutely right that Putin may actually be trying to assuage and constrain an even more nationalistic public opinion in Russia than he expresses publicly.
Last edited by WeiWenDi on Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:46 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Mostly I think it's just misguided idealism, combined with a certain sense that we have a hammer in our hand and all the world's problems look like nails.


This is what I was trying to get across about USA/UK foreign policy.

I do understand where the ideology comes from though. It must be awful watching situations like Iraq unfold knowing you have a choice between doing nothing and letting people die or committing troops and trying to make the situation better. I now understand that sometimes the second one just make things worse but it often takes more bravery to not do something that it does to act.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:12 pm

Sun Fin wrote:
WeiWenDi wrote:Mostly I think it's just misguided idealism, combined with a certain sense that we have a hammer in our hand and all the world's problems look like nails.


This is what I was trying to get across about USA/UK foreign policy.

I do understand where the ideology comes from though. It must be awful watching situations like Iraq unfold knowing you have a choice between doing nothing and letting people die or committing troops and trying to make the situation better. I now understand that sometimes the second one just make things worse but it often takes more bravery to not do something that it does to act.


Well, in truth, so do I - it's just that the track record of this ideology is so ridiculously sketchy (going all the way back to just before WWI, when idealistic interventionism was at its peak) that it's sometimes hard for me to understand how people still think humanitarian intervention ought to be our go-to solution. But yes - institutional inertia, the iron triangle and all that...

I wouldn't necessarily call it 'bravery', though, to oppose the temptation to 'something must be done' - more like 'prudence' that should temper bravery. That said, though, the people who say loudest that 'something must be done' - that something often involving planes and bombs and guns - often aren't all that willing to go and do it themselves...
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Calamitus » Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:21 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:
Calamitus wrote:Interesting fact - Putin's rating was actually very low before those events on Ukraine, now it is high instead. That what happens when someone tries to make civil war on your doorstep. Oh yes, many people think that his actions are mild and insufficient actually.


Now this is an interesting point.

It's worth note that the lion's share of the opposition to Putin - that from the Left, including the moderate, America-friendly democratic Left (Sergey Mironov and Fair Russia, for example) and of course the Slavophil Left (Sergey Glazyev) is much, much more jingo regarding the Ukraine than Putin is. Pretty much the only people who opposed his general stance there were the extreme Muscovite zapadniki (themselves incredibly right-wing, economically) in the SPS-Yabloko crowd, but these are all generally darlings of the neoliberal Atlanticist establishment anyway. Speaking honestly as a left-leaning American, we put our foot in it big time when we slapped sanctions on Mironov and Glazyev.

(Or, maybe, if the American foreign policy establishment were trying to promote democracy in Russia, slapping sanctions on Mironov and Glazyev would certainly help to burnish their populist credentials - 'see, America even hates us!' - thus lending them more credibility in future elections. Well played, American foreign policy establishment, well played indeed. :P )

Calamitus, you're absolutely right that Putin may actually be trying to assuage and constrain an even more nationalistic public opinion in Russia than he expresses publicly.

Mironov is considered as "puppet opposition" and they are not "America-friendly". Glazyev is an advisor of the president actually. His idea was "destroy Ukrainian army before it will pose a threat in future". I'm pretty sure common people now hate U.S.A because of what happens on Ukraine, rather than sanctions against politics.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby DreamGoddessLindsey » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:57 am

WeiWenDi wrote:Unless, of course, said politician happens to speak Russian.

Obviously certain folks have no problems with any such assumption on that ground alone.


Nope. Putin's actions are what convince me he's out for himself and is gathering power to do worse. Whether you want to pin the scaling back of civil rights in Russia on Putin or not, he still has the last word on any law that gets implemented. He has pushed these laws himself, therefore it is more than fair to pin the truth on him.

Dong Zhou wrote:I agree with WWD on Sun Fin's (now clarified) comments and the sense that, for some, that if Russia does something, Putin is doing it while twirling an evil moustache. I also disagree with WWD as I think he has then gone and done the same thing only with the west. While I would agree with him that oil, arms (or business as whole) lobby is far too powerful, we have different views on how far it reaches and where the damage is done.


I hate those lobbies something fierce. They're ravenous blood-sucking vultures. You wanna know who doesn't care about people? The oil and arms lobbies. They actually do only care about money, as proven by their actions.

What's making them worse is the Supreme Court, which has tilted far right on many issues lately. I'm surprised they didn't take up the gay marriage challenge, honestly, because most of the time, they vote for conservative interests. Citizens United was the single worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court. The follow-up was almost as bad. Those things are law now because the Supreme Court doesn't answer to anyone.

First, Citizens United needs to be scrapped. Corporation are not people ever in any sense whatsoever, I don't care what people wanna argue otherwise. It's major league DEE DEE DEE. It's completely gorked. Then we need to get rid of lifetime appointments to anything, period. Maybe make people elect the Supreme Court or something.

Dong Zhou wrote:I don't think it is helpful in these matters to assume one side is making a decision purely based on being evil or being puppet of evilcorp. Or looking at the entire system and deeming them all evil and corrupt with malign purposes. One can take a view on the morality or wisdom of things they do, say that there is bad influences or that something bad (or good) is playing a part in their judgement, but I would be wary of trying to portray any one decision as due to one evil factor/persona.


True. I believe in judging based on actions.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:36 am

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:
Nope. Putin's actions are what convince me he's out for himself and is gathering power to do worse. Whether you want to pin the scaling back of civil rights in Russia on Putin or not, he still has the last word on any law that gets implemented. He has pushed these laws himself, therefore it is more than fair to pin the truth on him.


It is my humble opinion that your single-minded hatred of Putin is blindingly you to everything that was just said by fellow forum members. Putin is not the only voice in the Russian government, and he was not the only one who pushed (or voted for) any kind of anti-LGBT legislation. Even without legislation, he isn't the one on the street assaulting, battering, and harassing LGBT community members.


I hate those lobbies something fierce. They're ravenous blood-sucking vultures. You wanna know who doesn't care about people? The oil and arms lobbies. They actually do only care about money, as proven by their actions.'


They also care about their constituency, which happens to be members of the American public.

What's making them worse is the Supreme Court, which has tilted far right on many issues lately. I'm surprised they didn't take up the gay marriage challenge, honestly, because most of the time, they vote for conservative interests.


Not really, they've taken a pretty fairly moderate role recently, including their ACA decision.

Citizens United was the single worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court. The follow-up was almost as bad. Those things are law now because the Supreme Court doesn't answer to anyone.


Yea, ruling for partial corporate personhood was much worse than ruling that slaves/African American could never be citizens and therefore lacked standing to sue (see Dredd Scott v. Sanford). With all due respect, making such a dramatic statement indicates either ridiculous dramatics or a unfamiliarity with constitutional jurisprudence.

First, Citizens United needs to be scrapped. Corporation are not people ever in any sense whatsoever, I don't care what people wanna argue otherwise. It's major league DEE DEE DEE. It's completely gorked.


Lot of conclusions, not alot of reasoning. Please address the constitutional arguments leveled in both Citizens United and earlier SCOTUS precedents (see personal notice cases).

Then we need to get rid of lifetime appointments to anything, period. Maybe make people elect the Supreme Court or something.


With all due respect, that is a terrible idea which would only exacerbate the situation you seem to hate.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby DreamGoddessLindsey » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:25 am

Shikanosuke wrote:They also care about their constituency, which happens to be members of the American public.


Um, what? Lobbies don't have constituents. Their motives are wholly based on greed. Whatever else you might say, that one is pretty solidly known.

Shikanosuke wrote:Not really, they've taken a pretty fairly moderate role recently, including their ACA decision.


We have four Republicans that always vote one way, three Democrats that always vote the other way, and two "moderates" one of whom leans heavily to the right. Justice Kennedy is the only reason progress has continued recently.

Shikanosuke wrote:Yea, ruling for partial corporate personhood was much worse than ruling that slaves/African American could never be citizens and therefore lacked standing to sue (see Dredd Scott v. Sanford). With all due respect, making such a dramatic statement indicates either ridiculous dramatics or a unfamiliarity with constitutional jurisprudence.


Har har, but it is. Citizens United has basically allowed elections to be bought. That has a bigger reach in today's world than Dredd Scott had back then.

Shikanosuke wrote:Lot of conclusions, not alot of reasoning. Please address the constitutional arguments leveled in both Citizens United and earlier SCOTUS precedents (see personal notice cases).


I've seen the supposed arguments, and they sound as utterly ludicrous as putting a three year old up front and having them tell you what's all on their mind. It's beyond absurd and into the territory of "Are these fools from outer space or something?"

Shikanosuke wrote:With all due respect, that is a terrible idea which would only exacerbate the situation you seem to hate.


How do you justify lifetime appointments?
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:07 am

The same way we justify the House of Lord's in Britain. An entirely elected system is dangerous as it has the potential to led to mob rule. Your supreme Court and our Lords is the final protection if a Nazi or communist party ever actually managed to get elected.

A threat that is becoming increasingly real across Europe right now.
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Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:54 am

DreamGoddessLindsey wrote:
Um, what? Lobbies don't have constituents. Their motives are wholly based on greed. Whatever else you might say, that one is pretty solidly known.


For one businesses are made of people, who are constituents. They have lobbies who work on their behalf to persuade the elected representatives. There are lobbies for a variety of issues from business, to environmental protection, to foreign interests.

Even if you say lobbies are based on 'greed' that 'greed' is very often the 'greed' of the people. You should note that lobbies come In a variety of shapes and sizes (not just the NRA) and exist not only at the federal level but also at the state level.


We have four Republicans that always vote one way, three Democrats that always vote the other way, and two "moderates" one of whom leans heavily to the right. Justice Kennedy is the only reason progress has continued recently.


While it's true that justices often vote along a similar trajectory that trajectory isn't always on a party line but on a particular approach to the constitution (wrong or right ). Also you statement is under minded when often you have either a) all the court agreeing on certain constitutional issues or b) members reaching conclusions outside their perceived trajectory.

It's often easy to overlook this as only big divisive cases get media coverage.


Har har, but it is. Citizens United has basically allowed elections to be bought. That has a bigger reach in today's world than Dredd Scott had back then.


To begin with your conclusion is a presumption and in my opinion wrong. Secondly, it's suggestion of reach is both inaccurate and not the point. Lastly. And to make sure im not putting words in your mouth, you're saying as far as what we should consider 'worse'..a Supreme Court precedent extending corporate personhood is worse than a case denying citizenship based on race?


I've seen the supposed arguments, and they sound as utterly ludicrous as putting a three year old up front and having them tell you what's all on their mind. It's beyond absurd and into the territory of "Are these fools from outer space or something?"


With all due respect I don't think this reply is much different than the first. It's fine if you think the decision is wrong and it's fine I you don't want to engage with the courts substantive arguments. You can say so and we'll move on. But I was not inquiring if you saw them but which ones you disagreed with and why.



How do you justify lifetime appointments?


Well, if by justify you mean by authority then the answer would be article III of the US Constitution (IIRC). As for the reasoning sun fun addressed this. Allowing justices to be voted for would only increase the likelihood they'd be prone to make decisions for political reasons instead of trying to isolate and protect them from worrying about how their decisions will effect their chances next election.
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Re: Obama vs. Putin - Ukraine a Modern Day Guan Du?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:39 pm

On the oil/lobby debate

I seriously doubt the chair of powerful companies get up each morning planning to shaft America or want people to suffer as such.They probably weep patriotic tears and at the church collection, probably put in their money as they want to do their bit and think they are helping.

The problem (and they are far from the only ones who do this) is they inevitably believe that what benefits their business will also benefit the country. That tax break is not only good for OilCorp 2000 but good for every citizen of the US and couldn't have been better used. That squeezing every inch of profit will, for a variety of reasons, help the wider god even if it requires changing some employment law or regulation. They believe what they do and ask for will help the people of America and the people they talk to are likely to think the same so reinforcing their belief in their efforts.

What they think is best for the country (which being human, nearly always is also in their best interests) is not always the best thing for the wider country. Lobbies have skewed perspectives and governments can be too scared or too trusting to just tell them no which is where my criticism tends to be.

WeiWenDi wrote:Okay; sorry about that impression I gave. THAT was not deliberate - big 'my bad' there. :P


No problem. For record, second paragraph of my post was more a general rambling point then about you as such

Personally, when it comes to American foreign policy I would prefer us to have a healthier dose of good honest patriotic realism rather than this disembodied world policeman attitude that so many of us seem to have.


In England, I think we are starting to see this though no major politician as such will admit it in rhetoric.

WeiWenDi wrote:And to be honest, I don't think the 'biggest fish in the pond' aspect of American foreign policy is in any way an evil moustache-twirling 'rule the world' plot. Mostly I think it's just misguided idealism, combined with a certain sense that we have a hammer in our hand and all the world's problems look like nails.


Last line made laugh

I think there is, or has been, the belief that if only we did such and such (invade, air bomb, yell at them in China's case) that we would win the war and then everybody would be jolly good chaps, democracy happen with ease and the lion would lie down with the lamb. That what is going on is horrible ergo we must stop it ergo anyone who opposes must have great moral failings. Particularly if they aren't on your side or your own countrymen.

DGL wrote:Nope. Putin's actions are what convince me he's out for himself and is gathering power to do worse. Whether you want to pin the scaling back of civil rights in Russia on Putin or not, he still has the last word on any law that gets implemented. He has pushed these laws himself, therefore it is more than fair to pin the truth on him.


and his actions are generally popular. When he next goes for election, even without the inevitable issues that arise, he will likely win heavily. Again, Putin as the big bad dragon, as much as I may not like him, is going to ignore the underlying issues
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